Ever since the Snapdragon 810 hit devices this Spring and seemed to deliver underwhelming upgrades and changes, the industry and users have been looking forward to what’s next from Qualcomm. For some time now, we’ve known that to be the Snapdragon 820, with custom cores once again, rather than the reference core designs used in the Snapdragon 810. In information released on Qualcomm’s official website, detailing the new Adreno 530 GPU and the new Qualcomm Spectra camera platform, the company has announced a release date of sorts. It’s official now; the Snapdragon 820 will arrive in devices starting H1 2016. We can take that to mean Spring releases like the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 were this year, but we might see some manufacturers jumping the gun as LG did with the Snapdragon 810 in the G Flex 2.
Focusing on the new Adreno 530 GPU, Qualcomm is pinning it as their “highest performance GPU” to date and promise up to 40% gains in performance as well as a 40% drop in power consumption compared to the Adreno 430 in the Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 805. Graphics performance in the mobile arena has transformed dramatically over the last few years, and we’re sure Qualcomm will want to keep this going in the Snapdragon 820. Especially as competitors like NVIDIA and Samsung make improvements in this area as well. Capable of 4K playback and some of the best 3D graphics possible, the Adreno 530 will be a big piece of the Snapdragon 820’s puzzle.
The second part of today’s ‘Countdown to Snapdragon 820’ update focuses on the new Spectra platform for cameras. This dual-ISP (image signal processor) is capable of taking advantage of more advanced 14-bit sensors as well as hybrid autofocus framework and multi-sensor fusion algorithms that support next generation computational photography. All of this sounds fancy, but in reality will make for a wider range of colors, meaning more accuracy as well as more detailed and natural skin tones.
So far, there’s not much we don’t know about the Snapdragon 820 in general terms. It’s going to be an octa-core CPU using a 64-bit architecture just like the 810. However, unlike the 810, the Snapdragon 820 will feature custom designed Kyro CPU cores. This is a big deal, as the Krait cores that Qualcomm used in the Snapdragon 801 and 805 were arguably what made the whole package so good. H1 2016 might be a way away, but we’ll probably hear a little more in due course.